The Constitution’S Limit On Congress



The Constitution does not permit the federal government to do whatever it deems best. When the people of the sovereign states ratified our Constitution and thereby created the federal government, they delegated only a few enumerated powers to Congress. The 10th Amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The general government can do only those items authorized in the Constitution. What is Congress permitted to do?

Congress — The only branch that has authority to make laws:


To declare war;

To regulate commerce with foreign nations;


To establish uniform rules of naturalization;

After 1808, to prohibit importation of slaves;

After 1808, to restrict migration (immigration) to these United States;


To lay certain taxes;

To pay the debts of the United States;

To establish uniform laws on bankruptcies;

To coin money and regulate the value thereof;

To fix the standard of weights and measures;

To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting;

To establish post offices and post roads;

To issue patents and copyrights;

To create courts inferior to the supreme court;

An enumeration of the population for purposes of apportionment of representatives and direct taxes;

Elections of senators and representatives and their pay;

A restricted power to suspend writs of habeas corpus;

To revise and control imposts or duties on imports or exports which may be laid by states;

Implementation of the full faith and credit clause;

Procedures for Amendments to the Constitution;

To regulate commerce among the states, and with the Indian tribes;

A restricted power to declare the punishment of treason;

To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the laws of nations;

To make rules of warfare, to raise and support armies and a navy and to make rules governing the military forces; to call forth the militia for certain purposes, and to make rules governing the militia;

The 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 19th, 23rd, 24th and 26th Amendments delegated additional powers to Congress respecting certain civil rights and certain voting rights, the public debt [lawfully incurred], income tax, successions to vacated offices, dates of assembly, and appointment of representatives from the D.C.

These are the only areas where Congress can make laws. Any laws passed outside of these areas are unconstitutional.

Note: there is no authority delegated over guns, health care, schools, food, retirement plans or the environment.

Mike Foil and Publius Huldah


Mike Foil 3 years, 11 months ago

Ted, How about backing up your insults with some facts? Where is it wrong? I would have to believe that you have read and studied the Constitution before accusing someone else of getting it "really crazy". Anyway, I am glad you took the time to read the let it sink in. We claim to support the Constitution but most of what the government does is unconsititutional. We would not have a spending problem or debt problem if their spending was limited to only what the Constitution allowed.


Ronald Hamric 3 years, 11 months ago

Mike, Do not feed the troll. I'm certain you have much better ways to use your time and energy.;-)


Rex Hinshaw 3 years, 11 months ago

I agree with Mr. Hamric about not feeding the troll....but....I suggested the removal of his comment and I ask Mr. Naughton to consider his removal from this forum. I am fed up with his name calling.


Dan Haapala 3 years, 11 months ago

Yes. Why don't all of our children know this? Why do we have to post the truth here when it should be known in every heart of every American?


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